Targeting ZDHHC21/FASN axis for the treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Leukemia. 2024 Feb;38(2):351-364. doi: 10.1038/s41375-023-02130-5. Epub 2024 Jan 9.


S-palmitoylation is essential for cancer development via regulating protein stability, function and subcellular location, yet the roles S-palmitoylation plays in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) progression remain enigmatic. In this study, we uncovered a novel function of the palmitoyltransferase ZDHHC21 as a tumor suppressor in DLBCL and identified ZDHHC21 as a key regulator of fatty acid synthetase (FASN) S-palmitoylation for the first time. Specifically, ZDHHC21 was downregulated in DLBCL, and its expression level was associated with the clinical prognosis of patients with DLBCL. In vitro and in vivo experiments suggested that ZDHHC21 suppressed DLBCL cell proliferation. Mechanistically, ZDHHC21 interacted with FASN and mediated its palmitoylation at Cys1317, resulting in a decrease in FASN protein stability and fatty acid synthesis, consequently leading to the inhibition of DLBCL cell growth. Of note, an FDA-approved small-molecule compound lanatoside C interacted with ZDHHC21, increased ZDHHC21 protein stability and decreased FASN expression, which contributed to the suppression of DLBCL growth in vitro and in vivo. Our results demonstrate that ZDHHC21 strongly represses DLBCL cell proliferation by mediating FASN palmitoylation, and suggest that targeting ZDHHC21/FASN axis is a potential therapeutic strategy against DLBCL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Fatty Acid Synthase, Type I* / genetics
  • Fatty Acid Synthase, Type I* / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / genetics
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / metabolism
  • Prognosis


  • FASN protein, human
  • Fatty Acid Synthase, Type I
  • Fatty Acids